The lawmakers want the administration to redesignate TPS to apply to more recently-arrived Venezuelans. They also want an extension of TPS as the current protections are set to expire in September.
The letter was signed by all of the Democratic senators who ran for president in 2020, including: Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Michael Bennet. Other co-signers included Sens. Dick Durbin, who chairs the Judiciary Committee that has jurisdiction over immigration legislation, and Alex Padilla, who sits on the committee.
In the letter, the senators reminded that protections for Venezuelan immigrants have long received bipartisan support. On his last full day in office, former President Donald Trump used the little-known Deferred Enforced Departure program, or DED, to offer temporary legal status to Venezuelans fleeing the humanitarian crisis brought on by Nicolás Maduro’s regime.
President Joe Biden first granted TPS for Venezuelan exiles in March 2021, fulfilling one of his long-standing campaign promises. TPS provides people from countries devastated by natural disasters, armed conflicts or other “extraordinary” conditions the ability to live and work in the U.S. legally.
The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has only worsened since the Biden administration first granted TPS for Venezuelans last year. More than 6 million refugees and migrants have left the country as a result, according to the United Nations.